- Although named for Dalmatia, in western Yugoslavia, the Dalmatian probably did not originate there.
- The breed’s ancestry, place and time of origin, and original function are unknown.
- Distinctly spotted dogs have been depicted in art from ancient times, but it’s not known if they were related to Dalmatians.
- Early jobs probably included war dog, sentinel, draft dog, herding dog, ratter, retriever, bird dog, and trick dog. The breed found its niche as a coach dog in Victorian England. Coach dogs trotted alongside, in front of, or beneath the coach, protecting the horses from marauding dogs, and looking good in the process.
- Its role as a coach dog for horse-drawn fire engines led to its adoption as a firehouse dog.
- The AKC recognized the Dalmatian in 1888.
- The popular Disney movie, 101 Dalmatians, fueled a surge in popularity, followed by a subsequent plunge. When the movie’s sequel came out, it included disclaimers asking viewers not to get a Dalmatian on impulse. The second movie caused a much smaller surge.
- Dalmatians have experienced a 97 per cent drop in registrations over the past decade.
Dalmatian Behavior Concerns
- Makes a playful and adventurous family member.
- Good and playful with children, although may be too energetic for small children.
- Affectionate and demonstrative.
- Loves to run, and may roam if the opportunity arises.
- Outgoing toward strangers.
- May be aggressive toward strange dogs, but is good with family dogs.
- Usually good with household pets.
- Does best with a firm owner who can combine reward-based training with good control and leadership.
- Deaf dogs can be trained with hand signals and vibrating collars.
Dalmatian Suggested Exercises
- Makes a fairly calm and alert housedog if given adequate exercise. If not given enough exercise, can be overactive and destructive.
- Requires daily exercise in the form of a long walk, or preferably, long jog.
- A well-fenced yard is essential.
- Games can also help provide exercise.
- Enjoys cold weather, but its short coat doesn’t protect it against prolonged exposure.
- Obedience training is essential not only for control, but for the mental exercise it provides.
- Coat is short and glossy.
- It requires brushing once a week to remove dead hair.
- Shedding is average.
- Dalmatians are born white; the dots come later.
Suggested Dalmatian Nutritional Needs
- Dalmatians tend to stay in good weight or to be slightly overweight.
- Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet, with restricted calories if the dog starts to gain too much weight.
- Many Dalmatians form urinary stones, most commonly urate stones. These stones may be managed in part by feeding certain prescription dog foods that are low in certain types of protein that yield purine. Liver and other organ meats are high in purine and should be avoided in these dogs. Eggs and vegetables are low in purine. A diet low in purines, moderate in high-quality protein, high in complex carbohydrates, and low in fat and salt is suggested for urate-forming Dalmatians. Your veterinarian is the best source of information for your Dalmatian’s special dietary needs.
- High water intake may also help prevent stones
>>> SEE ALSO: Know Your Pet